Coach Spotlight: Aaron Douglas

Sometimes you just need a fresh start in life. That's what Aaron Douglas got when he walked away from the Tennessee Volunteer football program in the spring of 2010 and joined Head Coach Tom Minnick at Arizona Western College. This season he helped Minnink and the Matadors to a 10-2 record and a spot in the C.H.A.M.P.S. Heart of Texas Bowl.

"Aaron did pretty well for us this season," Minnick said. "He took care of business on the field and in the classroom."

Aaron Douglas, 6-5, 280, played left tackle for the Matadors. He signed with Tennessee out of Maryville High School where he was a two-time All-State performer by the TSWA and two-time Tennessee 4A Lineman of the Year. He won state championships in high school at both football and basketball.

"When I look at Aaron's game the first thing that jumps out at me are his quick feet," said Minnick. "That's what the most sought after left tackles have that the others don't. He continued to add weight and get stronger while he was here and down the road I see him getting even more massive with continued work in the weight room."

In Douglas first year at Tennessee under the Phillip Fulmer, the coach who recruited him, he took a redshirt. His second year at UT Lane Kiffin came in and Douglas earned a starting position at right tackle to go along with Freshman All-American honors. A third coach was brought in with Derek Dooley, and Douglas felt it was time for him to find a new home, so he headed west to Yuma, AZ.

"He's a great kid and a leader," said Minnick on Douglas. "He did a fine job helping the young freshmen offensive linemen get better. With the experience he had having played in the SEC, they listened to what he had to tell them."

USC wanted Douglas' services. James Clegg, now on Southern Cal's staff, was his position at Tennessee during his stellar freshman season. The No. 1 ranked team nationally, the Oregon Ducks, also offered Douglas, as did Arkansas and defending national champion, Alabama. He decided to return to the SEC and play for the Crimson Tide.

"I don't get involved with the kid's decisions unless they were placed here," said Minnick. "He made the decision by himself. He must have really liked what he heard from Alabama though, because he had the opportunity to go to USC who uses the same playbook he knew from his time at Tennessee."

However, it was all about a fresh start for Douglas. Alabama is losing left tackle and offensive line stalwart in James Carpenter to graduation. Carpenter was also a JuCo player who came in to replace All-American Andre Smith. He went on to start 27 consecutive games. The Tide is hoping Douglas will give them that kind of consistency when he arrives in January.

"Aaron was named 2nd team All-Conference (WSFL), but he should have been on the 1st team," Minnick said. "I thought he was the best lineman in the conference."

Arizona Western College fell 27-31 to Blinn College in the C.H.A.M.P.S. Heart of Texas Bowl to finish 10-2 on the year. Douglas will accompany Arizona Western teammate Jesse Williams in relocating to Tuscaloosa in 2011.

Aaron Douglas has athleticism coursing through his veins. His father, David Douglas, was a starter at tackle for Tennessee's 1985 SEC championship team and went on to play professionally for the Cincinnati Bengals. His mother, Karla Horton Douglas, was the starting center on for Pat Summitt's first national championship basketball team at Tennessee in 1987.

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